Men, women disagree on number of guns at home, new study finds

CHAPEL HILL Many couples with small children living at home disagree not only about how they have firearms stored but also about the number and types of guns they possess, a new study shows.

The study suggests that because of those firearm knowledge and reporting differences, which reflect a form of gender gap, gun safety counseling should be provided at hardware and home improvement stores, workplaces, shooting ranges, sporting events and other places men are likely to go, researchers say.

"That's because men are more likely to be the gun owners, and they are the ones most often responsible for storing weapons," said Dr. Tamera Coyne-Beasley of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Offering this counseling only in clinical settings such as doctors' offices is likely to be less effective for improving firearm storage practices and creating safer homes since mothers are the ones usually taking their children to the doctor."

Coyne-Beasley, associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted the investigation to learn whether men and women differed in their reports of gun ownership and storage practices.

Overall, the goal was to limit youth's unauthorized access to firearms and to help protect them against suicides and accidental shootings, which are common in the United States compared with other nations not at war. In 2001, for example, 233 unintentional firearm injuries occurred among children under age 6. During the same year, there were 2,118 firearm-related fatalities among those 18 and younger.

The new research consisted of telephone interviews with both adult male and adult female residents of households with children who had visited a hospital emergency department. Interviews with people married or living together took place not only separately for the first time but also on different days.

Callers completed interviews with 76 randomly selec

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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